10 Avoidant Relationship Partner Traits
If you want to know why your partner is acting the way they are, there may be a reason. It could be their attachment style.
The avoidant attachment style can make communication difficult. It can make a partner withdraw from you, and it can even make them emotionally distant.
If your relationship's not happy now, it might be due to the avoidant behavior of an attachment style your partner may not even be aware of.
Often, childhood trauma can affect adult relationships and how we perceive the world.
Types of Avoidant Traits
Below is a list of common avoidant traits that you may have observed in your partner/in a partner.
They’re not "there" for you. A common sign of avoidant attachment can be when your partner just doesn't seem to care about the relationship. This can be particularly difficult when it comes to conflict. People with avoidant attachment styles can come across as "cold" and unresponsive. When your partner becomes emotionally detached, you may wonder what’s wrong. An avoidant partner may seem to have an “empty space" where their heart should be. They may also come up with excuses that prioritize their needs over yours. They may want to have sex with you, but they can’t bring themselves to be affectionate in front of others.
They can seem high-maintenance. People with avoidant types of attachment can often be independent, self-sufficient, take care of themselves well, and want to be in control. They may seem high maintenance, because they "don't need" anyone. Avoidants may turn down help or assistance when it comes their way.
They are unwilling to commit. Commitment is a scary proposition for any avoidant person. They may avoid committing to you or even to an opportunity because they fear failure, change, or feeling "trapped." Because of their past trauma (especially in childhood or early developmental stages), they may not feel like they deserve happiness. This is not to say that the avoidant person is necessarily afraid of intimacy, but rather intimate relationships leaves them feeling exposed and vulnerable.
They push away from closeness. When someone pushes back in a relationship and refuses to open up, it can be confusing. To make matters worse, they may accuse you of being too demanding for needing closeness at all. When you do, however, get affection from your partner, it seems as though they’re doing you a favor or that you need to be "more convincing". This is a common way in which avoidant people try to deflect and distract from the problem. Sometimes, avoidant partners will act coldly toward you without ever saying anything directly. Their actions speak louder than words.
They want their space. Being independent is a great thing but not so great in a romantic relationship! While it's perfectly natural for people to have boundaries, avoidant attachment styles can hinder healthy boundaries. Avoidant people don’t feel comfortable with intimacy, such as physical or emotional closeness. It's common for them to push for independence and personal space, but this can be hard on their romantic partners. Problems can arise when someone with an avoidant attachment style feels uncomfortable with too much togetherness... because of this feeling of discomfort, they may try to pull away and assert their independence.
They are unable to open up. A common reason why some avoidant people have difficulty opening up is that they don’t want to feel vulnerable or look bad in front of others. This is also partly because they may not even know what they're feeling or want to perform well. As a result, they tend to look for an escape route instead of dealing with their feelings.
They’re emotionally unavailable. If you or your partner become emotionally unavailable this may mean that they have a fear of being vulnerable. There may be several reasons why your partner doesn’t want to open up. An avoidant may also have feelings of unworthiness for affection. In some cases, a partner with an avoidant attachment style may not be able to offer love and affection when they are needed the most. Additionally, people with an avoidant strategy may want you to be a mind-reader and expect you to "just know" what they're feeling or thinking.
They behave inconsistently. Avoidant people may spend a lot of time thinking about their behavior and what other people think about them. They care more about maintaining an image and less about their relationships. This can lead to a lot of confusion, as they may often be "cold" one day and then affectionate the next. For example, they may not want to date you because they don’t think it will work out, or they only want casual sex because anything more serious isn’t worth the potential pain. This can create conflict within relationships, particularly when avoidants are paired with someone who has an anxious attachment style. Anxiously attached individuals often crave
They’re constantly on the defensive. If you or your partner are constantly going on the defensive, it may be a sign of avoidant attachment. Sadly, when someone is in a relationship with an avoidant person, they are often the one who feels defensive in their relationships.
They feel like they’re constantly "on the clock." A healthy relationship shouldn't feel rushed; however, when someone has avoidant attachment they may feel like they are constantly in a rush. They often have an unrealistic idea about their time together and how much intimacy they can handle at once.
If you think that any of these traits sound like they may be present in your relationship, please consult a professional therapist.
The avoidant attachment style that we've outlined is common and may prevent your (or your partner's) ability to communicate and for you to trust one another. It could be helpful to find out why you or your partner has this attachment style – and perhaps work on it!
Often, these couples in relationships don’t even know they have an attachment issue and this can often lead to other forms of conflict if not dealt with properly.
There is no shame or guilt in asking for help when needed. You deserve a functional relationship.
If it sounds like this article has given you some insight into the difficulties faced by someone who suffers from an avoidant attachment style, consider making contact with us today so we can start figuring out how best to deal with this issue. At Evolve we work the avoidant attachment style all of the time.